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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


GUIMARAES, Jael de Paula  and  COSTA PASSOS, Afonso Dinis. Analysis of agreement between self-assessment and observed classification of pubertal development among school girls. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1997, vol.31, n.3, pp.263-271. ISSN 1518-8787.

AIM: To test the reliability of the self-classification concerning levels of breast and pubic hair development among female adolescents of different socioeconomic groups. MATERIAL AND METHOD: A total of 445 female adolescents attending three secondary schools located in Ribeirão Preto, State of S. Paulo, Brazil, were studied. After being familiarised with Tanner´s tables of breast and pubic hair development, the adolescents were asked to self classify themselves according to these variables. The results were compared to those obtained by a physical examination carried out soon after. RESULTS: Agreement rates between referred and observed information on breast development varied from 57.3% to 65.2%. For pubic hair the values varied from 65.4% to 73.5%. Total agreement rates for breast and pubic hair development, when considered simultaneously, reached values below 50.0% in the three schools. However, high agreement rates were observed for some critical degrees, such as B2, B4 and PH4. CONCLUSIONS: Significant events, such as the beginning of pubertal development, the menarche and the showing down of the body's development growth could be determined with acceptable levels of agreement. The low agreement rates observed for the simultaneous analysis of the degree of both breast and pubic hair show the need for the perfecting of methodologies that can replace the physical examination of adolescents, once reliable information about pubertal development is obtained in field studies.

Keywords : Puberty; Sex maturation; Adolescence.

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